RILA Logo 2011 v.5
In This Issue
Implementing Conference Ideas
Senior Project Judging
Engaging Children's Room Experience
News From the Field

Rhode Island
Library Association

The Rhode Island Library Association is a professional association of Librarians, Library Staff, Trustees, and library supporters whose purpose is to promote the profession of librarianship and to improve the visibility, accessibility, responsiveness and effectiveness of library and information
services throughout
Rhode Island.

Contact us at:
PO Box 6765
Providence, RI 02940



It still feels like summer as this edition of the RILA Bulletin goes to press, but the signs of fall are already evident inside Rhode Island's libraries. Let the back-to-school rush begin!

Just a few days ago, Americans observed the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Do you remember where you were that day? Although libraries have weathered - and continue to face - many challenges in the ensuing decade, they continue to serve as community gathering places and knowledge centers. An informed populace is integral to a free society, and we should all be proud of the work we do every day.

Last year the RILA Bulletin ran a series of columns called Better Know a Library and Better Know a Librarian, where we profiled the interesting history of many of our libraries and the unique careers of this state's talented professionals.  We'd love to continue with this effort, but we need your help!  If you're interested in submitting a profile of a library or librarian, let us know.  Send and questions and submissions to

We hope you enjoy reading this issue of the RILA Bulletin, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Andria Tieman & Corrie MacDonald
RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs
Message from RILA President Eileen Dyer
RILA LogoJust yesterday, we held the first meeting of the newly reconstituted RILA Board and reviewed the Association's 2010-11 accomplishments. These include:
  • Moving our website to the Drupal platform in order to streamline access to information for the membership
  • Refocusing collaboration with URI's GSLIS via our student liaison to provide joint programs
  • Partnering with OLIS and the RI Department of Labor and Training to offer Project Compass: Libraries at the Forefront of Economic Recovery
  • Contracting with lobbying firm RI Capitol Strategies to help keep RI libraries in the forefront of the minds of the RI legislature
The Board is committed to remaining focused and continuing the established momentum. We are excited to embark upon new initiatives, which will be pursued with an action-oriented agenda, and increased communication and transparency. The RILA Board is here to support its membership in addressing issues of concern to RI libraries of all types.

Stayed tuned by visiting us at, on, on Twitter @rilalibs, and of course, with the RILA Bulletin.

Thank you for participating in your association!

Eileen Dyer
Rhode Island Library Association President

Implementing Conference Ideas:

Exploring Digital Storytelling with Alice

By Aaron Coutu

Assistant Director/Technology Coordinator
Cumberland Public Library


One of the benefits of attending the annual RILA Conference is having an opportunity to learn about the possibilities in our field.  Workshops about programs, software, and methods are great ways for us to get refreshed and explore ways to meet the needs and interests of our patrons. 


I had always wanted to do more advanced computer programs with the teens while I was working as the Young Adult Librarian at the Greenville Public Library.  One of the challenges was always finding software that would be easy enough for the participants to use while also allowing them to create something they would be proud of ... and, of course, be affordable.  Well, one of the sessions I attended during this year's accomplished just that. 


Brian Myers, an instructor at Northwestern University, introduced attendees of the conference to two pieces of free downloadable applications that would allow users to create simple digital storytelling projects.  The two applications highlighted were Scratch and Alice.  In either case, users can create simple digitally animated films along the lines of Toy Story or Cars.  Both applications simplify computer code so that the user is able to construct a sequence of actions that include motion, sound, and special effects by pulling instruction blocks that represent the code.  I opted to do a program with Alice because I clicked with that application pretty quickly.


Visiting the website for Alice nicely provides a description of its intent right in the header:  "An educational software that teaches computer programming in a 3D environment."  The website also provides one-stop shopping for anyone looking to explore working with Alice.  The site includes free downloadable versions of the application that can be used for different purposes as well as all sorts of handouts, tutorials, marketing samples, and student examples.  The result of exploring the website is that anyone can download the software and materials and do a one- or two-hour program with ease and confidence.


You would want to start by downloading Alice from the website to all of the computers you will be using for the program.  Once that is done, take some time to just play with the various options and make a few sample videos.  It would allow you to get a little more comfortable with the interface and get better at creating the desired results.  This will also give you some videos to showcase at the start of the session to get the participants excited in the possibilities.  This was my showcase video.


Once the kids can see what can be done with even our limited abilities, you can show them how to do the same thing.  You only need to spend about 20 minutes running through the various options in the application's toolbox so they can see what can be done.  This includes not only showing them how to use the code blocks to build action, sounds, and effects, but also give them time to explore the pool of available themed graphics they have to start with.  Make sure to let them know they can import graphics and sounds from the Internet or record and build their own!


After that introduction to the software is finished, it is time to build an animated short as a group.   Younger users (and a lot of us) learn a lot better by seeing tasks and supplementing that by actually doing the tasks.  This shared experience allows all of the participants to share their new collective knowledge to reinforce each other.


Here is a result that happened in Alice training session with some middle-school-aged kids as part of the summer reading program at the Greenville Public Library:


Designing this took about 10 minutes.  As you can see, you can create some interesting, fun, and elaborate shorts with this software application even with only limited training.  Once that is completely


So, have a little fun by playing around with Alice and try presenting it as part of a program of your own.  This is just one of the great ideas you can get from attending the annual RILA conference so don't forget to join us next June for the next one.



Outreach via Senior Project Judging

By Nomi Hague 

Cranston Public Library & URI Instructor 

According to the high school regulations outlined by the RI Board of Regents and the RI Department of Education, all high school seniors in Rhode Island are required to complete their graduation requirements via the "Completion of a performance based requirement such as end of course exam, senior project, digital portfolio, etc." If the public library's local high school chose the senior project option, volunteering to be a senior project judge is another outlet for public librarians, especially those in youth services, to develop their outreach services.  


Initially I found out about the judging opportunity at the local high school via word of mouth -the senior project coordinator and other involved teachers were often at the public library doing some reconnaissance work related to their students' topics. The coordinator informed me that there were judging openings and I decided that volunteering would be a great way to demonstrate the public library's commitment to student success in the community. Then, after that first year I checked in with the senior project team each Spring in order to be placed on a judging schedule. Judging proved to be an excellent way to not only show support for our community's students but to make new connections with community members and teachers.


Students were poised, articulate and confidant as they presented well-researched topics ranging from career-oriented topics to health issues to cultural and historical explorations of fields such as music and dance. After being a judge, I gained a stronger grasp regarding the expectations and outcomes of the senior project and therefore felt better equipped to assist the next round of students at the reference desk with their research the following Fall and Winter. I also hope that I assisted the public library in building stronger community relationships by becoming a consistent community presence and supporter of our students.  


Additionally, because I was meeting more teachers, parents and other school officials, I could get the word out about upcoming youth services programs, summer reading list issues, etc. to a much broader base of relevant parties.  In fact, some of these teachers and administrators became my primary outreach contacts, enabling me to visit classes to promote public library resources and activities.


Volunteering to be a senior project judge is a constructive approach to the often daunting challenge of gaining access to the public library's local high school and it's also a great way to build on an already established positive public library/high school relationship.


Create an Engaging Children's Room Experience
By Brandi Kenyon
Youth and Teen Services Librarian, South Kingstown Public Library
Children's Room

Part of the fun of visiting the library is seeing what new books are available. However, discovering something new at the library should extend beyond books, especially in the children's room. Bulletin boards can easily be decorated and themed book displays can be set up, but are those enough to create an engaging library experience?


Visiting the library should be exciting for children, but it should also give them a chance to think and be creative as well. In this day and age with tight budgets and staffing it can be difficult to keep the children's room feeling fresh and new on each visit. The following are some easy ideas that can help make children want to visit the library.


Craft suppliesMake and take crafts are a great way for children to be creative at the library, giving them something to create and take home with them. Seasonal fall puppets can be made with popsicle sticks, leaf cut-outs and wiggly eyes. Paper plates or colored paper can easily be cut into the shape of an octopus head. Leave out crayons to make faces and streamers to be glued on as "legs". Older children can make personalized bookmarks with colored strips of card stock, ribbon and stickers or stamps. Other ideas for simple crafts that require few supplies and little direction can be found just by browsing through the books in the craft section of your library's children's room. No time to prep crafts? Teen volunteers are great resource for helping to prepare crafts for younger children.


In addition to crafts, there are many other ways to make the children's room an engaging experience:   

  • Websites such as and both have free printable pages that range from simple coloring pages to activity pages for older children.  
  • Allow children to get an up close view of every day objects by attaching magnifying glasses to a small box filled with things. It's amazing how different even a feather can look when viewed up close.  
  • The dollar store can be a great place to find math or alphabet flash cards and puzzles.  
  • Older children often pick books based on what their friends are reading. To keep the focus on books, leave out short response sheets that children can fill out, creating an "Other Kids Recommend" book review binder.


You don't have to implement all of these ideas to create positive experience. Just use a few, the key is to be sure to change them every few weeks. Make sure there are different coloring and activity sheets out. Leave out markers or chalk instead of crayons. Change the items in the magnifying box or swap out the puzzles with different ones. This doesn't mean you have to always be buying new things; the "old" puzzles will magically become new again if they are out of sight for a few weeks.


It's the little things that can make visiting the library an engaging experience for children. Whatever ideas you use, be sure to ask yourself, "Will this make a child want to come back?"


E-readers, Tablets, and E-books-- Oh My!  

How To Decide Which E-reader is Right for You?

By Kieran Ayton

Information Services & Technology Librarian, Cranston Public

E-readers There are dozens of e-readers on the market now.  Libraries are starting to purchase them to lend to patrons and many library staff are expected to be familiar with the ins and outs of them.   Some work with RI E-zone and some, namely the Amazon Kindle, do not.  Purchasing an e-reader can be tricky.  The major e-reader brands on the market are the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook.  However, the Sony e-reader, Apple iPad, Borders Kobo, plus smartphones like Androids and iPhones are also popular.  With so many choices, how do you figure out which e-reader or tablet is right for you?  The CNET website: provides some helpful tips.

First it is important to understand the difference between "readers" and "tablets" .  Readers, like the Kindle, regular Nook, and Sony e-reader, are used primarily for books, newspapers and magazines.  Tablets, like iPads, are more than just e-readers.  They can substitute as personal laptops and make it easy to surf the web, type up a word document, and do much more.  

Second, buyers must decide whether they want E-ink or LCD.  Readers use primarily E-ink.  E-ink limits the reading experience to black and white.  However, it is not backlit, like a regular computer, and therefore less tiring to the eyes.  Tablets, such as the iPad and the Nook Color, use LCD screens that are backlit.  While this enables a bright and colorful display, the screens are often glare. 

A third important factor is whether the tablet or reader has Wi-Fi and/or 3G.  Readers with just Wi-Fi must be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot to download e-books.  Once the e-book is downloaded, it does not matter where you are because the e-book files are stored on the device.  Readers and tablets with 3G (which is more expensive) are always connected to the Internet.  Finally, one should consider whether the device is supported by Overdrive on RI Ezone.  This list shows that most major brands are,
with the exception of the Amazon Kindle, which is supposed to integrate its e-books into Overdrive within the next year.  

Purchasing an e-reader or tablet can be an exciting step into 21st century technology, but it is important to do some basic research to figure out which device is right for you.  For more information see the article: Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you buy?
News From the Field

Providence Community Library

Libraries need advocates more than ever! Join the Mount Pleasant Library community this Saturday, September 17 from 10am - noon as they walk on Pleasant Valley Parkway to demonstrate their support of the library to the city of Providence. There will be snacks, drinks and prizes. Tickets are $1 for individuals and $2 for families - don't miss the fun! Check out the event's Facebook page for more information. 



Kieran Ayton was hired as Cranston Public Library's new Information Services & Technology Librarian.  Kieran had been working part-time at both Cranston Public, and Rhode Island College's Adams Library, so we offer him most hearty congratulations for grabbing the brass ring of full-time employment!     


Ed Garcia was promoted to the position of Technology Coordinator from his previous position as Information Access Librarian.



Eugene Jeffers has been named the new Coordinator of Children's Services.  The Children's room is undergoing a complete, grant-funded renovation, and Eugene began his term at the height of the Summer Reading program - so he certainly had to hit the ground running.   


Eugene has some exciting ideas for new collections: "Upon initial evaluation of the Children's collection, I noticed a rather large gender gap regarding our offerings to boys. My first major DVD order consisted exclusively of Superheroes and Godzilla (the 1990s and Millennium series, not the hokey 1960s and 1970s), and my first book order consisted of some classic reading list books mixed in with contemporary high-interest series like Walter the Farting Dog and Marvel Presents," he said. Eugene has also begun several new children's collections, including Blu-Ray movies, Nintendo DS games, and Playstation 3 games.



Aaron Coutu is has been appointed Assistant Director/Technology Coordinator at the Cumberland Public Library.  Aaron comes to Cumberland from the Greenville Public Library, but many will know him from his work on the RI Teen Book Award Committee, as an adjunct professor at URI, as a Trustee at Jesse Smith Library, and from a number of committees and programs he has presented over the years.  Aaron says of his new position, "This new position is really going to be a change for me, but it comes with exciting opportunities for professional growth and the challenges of new experiences."  




Norma DiMaio and Carol Gallant retired from the Greenville Public Library this year.

Both Norma and Carol began working at the Greenville Public Library in 1973. Norma became the head of circulation in 1981 and served in that position for many years before becoming a part-time library assistant a few years ago.

Carol was a reference librarian and became the assistant director in 1981, holding that position for many years. Several years ago she took a job at the Langworthy Library in Hopkinton and reduced her hours at Greenville to one day a week in the reference department. 

Both Norma and Carol helped to shape library services at Greenville and will be missed.

New Hire 

Rhonda Hevenor has been appointed as the Young Adult Librarian at the Greenville Public Library.  


Rhonda is a graduate of Simmons College with a Master's degree in Library Science. She worked for 13 years in Franklin, MA as a school librarian and has worked part-time for the last ten years in the reference and children's departments of the Greenville Public Library. 




Coordinator of Children's Services Susan Lepore is retiring from the Warwick Public Library after 26 years of service.  She earned her MLIS at Indiana University and began her professional career at Tempe Public Library, but came to Rhode Island because she wanted to experience New England.  Prior to becoming a librarian, Susan taught Kindergarten in Pelham, Georgia; Crown Point, Indiana and Zuni, New Mexico. Her retirement plans include reading more "adult" books, gardening, traveling and learning JAVA and LAYARS.  



Warwick Reference Librarian Niles Madsen had a brush with library-based fame when Turn to 10 stopped by to discuss the surge of business at the library during the post-Irene power outages.      



The Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Burrillville got a minor increase of $21,000 over last year's budget.  On top of that, the council voted last session to award all non-union town employees (FT, PT, and seasonal) a 2% one-time performance bonus.  That includes the staff at the library.  This is not a permanent raise, but a one-time bonus.  Congratulations to the Smith library employees!  It's nice to to see hard work rewarded, and to hear some good news about library budgets for a change.


The Lincoln School 

The Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors will be held at the Lincoln School on Saturday, October 15. As in years past, this event will feature an exciting list of nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators, including Gail Carson Levine, Kadir Nelson and Linda Sue Park.  Admission is $5.    


Authors and illustrators will each give a 30-minute presentation on their work, life, and philosophy.  There will be opportunities to meet and talk with the authors and illustrators, and copies of their books will be available for purchase and signing.   


Between talks, you can participate in bookmaking crafts - perfect for the young and upcoming artist! Seattle's "kindie" band Recess Monkey will perform in the afternoon.

Lunch is available from several of Rhode Island's best food trucks parked on our campus. Professional development credits are available for attending the festival.


Questions? Email Meagan Lenihan at or check out their website.  



Chief Library Officer Howard Boksenbaum wrote a summary of the 2011 legislative session as it relates to libraries.  The full summary is available on the OLIS website.    


OLIS is beginning a bus advertising campaign to promote the AskRI databases.  Look for the ad on a bus near you!



The minutes for the August executive board meeting of RILA are available on the website as is the meeting schedule for the coming year.     


RILA's ALA Councilor, Chris Leroux's report from ALA Annual is also available on the RILA website. 



Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) introduced the  Strengthening Kids' Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act July 6, 2011.  The SKILLs Act will help ensure that more students have access to effective school library programs that will help them compete in today's information age.  


School libraries are becoming high-tech learning environments that offer a wide range of print and electronic resources that provide learning opportunities to all students, especially those without computer access at home.  Highly-trained librarians who can teach students the digital literacy skills they need to find, analyze, and use information are key to helping students succeed in the classroom and prepare for successful careers in the future. More than 60 education and library studies have produced clear evidence that school libraries staffed by qualified  

librarians have a positive impact on student academic achievement.


"Knowing how to find and use information are essential skills for today's students and tomorrow's workers. A good school library, staffed by a trained librarian, is where students develop and hone these skills," said Reed.  "The SKILLS Act is a focused federal investment in effective school library programs that will help ensure that more schools have the high-tech resources they need and certified librarians who can work with students and teachers."


"Libraries can be excellent environments in which children of all ages can broaden their knowledge on a variety of subjects," Cochran said.  "This legislation would provide the necessary tools to get resources into schools that need better library services and more qualified personnel.  We want libraries to be an integral part of bettering our educational system."


The SKILLs Act is also cosponsored by Senators Patti Murray (D-WA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).


Full description of the bill is available on Senator Reed's website.  

The RILA Bulletin is produced by the RILA Communications Committee.  The RILA Communications Committee is responsible for publicizing and supporting Rhode Island Library Association activities using a variety of communication tools. Responsibilities including publishing the RILA Bulletin, managing social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and exploring other mediums as needed. The Communications Committee may cooperate with the publicity efforts of the Public Relations Committee to promote library services statewide.

Rhode Island Library Association members can contribute content to the RILA Bulletin by emailing the editors:

Corrie MacDonald & Andria Tieman
RI Library Association